SINGAPORE: A 39-year-old Singaporean man has been sentenced to four weeks’ jail and fined S$16,000 for offences under the Immigration Act and Women’s Charter, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Wednesday (Aug 29).
On Aug 20, Ong Ee Meng was convicted and sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment and a fine in default of eight weeks’ jail for harbouring an immigration offender.
He also knowingly sublet an apartment unit to the 43-year-old woman, knowing that she would be using the premises to provide sexual services.
Investigations revealed that Ong had sublet an apartment unit to a Chinese national overstayer, Liu Hui, knowing that she would be staying and using the premises to provide sexual services.
ICA said Liu has been dealt with for her overstaying offence, and has since been repatriated.
ICA added that Liu had initially arrived in Singapore on Mar 11, 2018 to work as a performing artiste but then chose to work as a freelance masseur. Liu continued to remain in Singapore to work illegally upon the expiry of her visit pass on Mar 25, 2018.
On Apr 26, ICA officers conducted a check at the apartment unit and arrested Liu, who had overstayed in Singapore for 32 days.
ICA officers also arrested Ong for harbouring her.
Ong claimed that Liu had told him she was in Singapore on a two-year singer’s permit. However, Ong did not ask her for her work pass or passport for verification.
Ong also knew that Liu was using the premises for vice activities and also admitted to having engaged her services, ICA said.
As Ong did not conduct any due diligence checks, he had committed the offence of harbouring an immigration offender recklessly under the Immigration Act.
"Homeowners are advised to exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal," ICA added.
They should do so by checking the person's original immigration or work pass, cross-checking the details on the work pass against the original passport and verifying the validity of the work pass with the issuing authority.
Homeowners found guilty of knowingly harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants may be sentenced to a jail term of between six months and two years, as well as a maximum fine of S$6,000.